More than 14,000 non-urgent hospital appointments were cancelled last month, according to the Health Service Executive.

Increased Emergency Department attendances and infection outbreaks are among the reasons for the cancellation of scheduled care.

The figures were provided to Sinn Féin's Health spokesperson David Cullinane, through a written Parliamentary Question.

Altogether, 14,801 scheduled care appointments were cancelled in April.

"14,801 cancellations in one month is extremely high. This is in the main due to hospital overcrowding. We see this manifesting in our emergency departments. This follows months and years of cancellations during Covid and the cyber-attack", according to Deputy Cullinane.

Among the elective appointments cancelled in April were 56 chemotherapy appointments, eight dialysis appointments, 588 gastrointestinal appointments and 1,191 other day care.

There were 2,887 new outpatient appointments cancelled, meaning the patient was referred to hospital for the first time. And 8,963 return outpatient appointments were cancelled, meaning the patient had a recurring reason for attending, likely due to a chronic illness or multiple health complaints.

The Mater had the highest number of cancelled appointments at 1,092, followed by St James's Hospital with 853 and St Vincent's University Hospital with 841.

Outside of Dublin, University Hospital Limerick had the highest, where 765 appointments were cancelled.

Mr Cullinane said: "We need a renewed focus on enhanced community care including home care supports and recovery beds in the community. A lack of capacity in these areas leads to unnecessary longer patient discharge times.

According to the Waterford TD, lessons could be learned from hospitals in Louth and Cavan "who have improved the operations of their casualty departments with improved patient experiences through better use of Medical Assessment Units and speciality wards."

In its correspondence to Mr Cullinane, the Health Service Executive warned that some of the figures "may be subject to change".

The HSE said that hospitals are working to develop a "robust process for the collection and collation of data on cancellations".

Some hospitals have not recorded such data for different reasons, one such reason being issues related to the HSE cyber-attack.

It is also the case that some hospitals cannot differentiate whether appointments were cancelled due to clinical reasons or a patient's decision.